Apple Macintosh Big Brother launch advert #history


Excerpt from The PC Pioneers

On this day in 1984 – Apple ran its Big Brother advert as the launch of the Apple Macintosh – it aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.  (For the record, the LA Raiders beat the Redskins in Florida.)

This was the one-minute advertisement that prompted Mark Markkula, Apple’s chairman, to ask Steve Jobs and John Sculley,

‘You mean you really want to show this?’

Produced in Shepperton Studios in the UK and directed by Ridley Scott, the budget was $900,000.  It was aired only twice but delivered an enormous impact, achieving free runs on news channels and comments in the print media – just imagine what YouTube could have done with it?


At first an Apple spokesperson said it was not planned to be anti-IBM but was in fact an attack on conformity and a celebration of the triumph of originality.  Although Steve Jobs, previewing it in late 1983, said it was trying to convey that,

‘It appears IBM wants it all. 

Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money.’

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